The Isle of Man may have been parodied on The Fast Show back in the ‘90s as an isolated backwater, but ebusiness and the gaming industry now account for around a quarter of all its economic activity, employing around 1700 people.
Ten Manx firms have been nominated in various categories at the forthcoming E-Gaming Review (EGR) Awards, to be held on June 1st in the Pavilion at the Tower of London. The nominations are not only for gaming companies, but also in associated categories such as online payments and web hosting.
The Isle of Man Government is noted for creating an ebusiness-friendly environment. The island has a “self-healing ring” of data routers, meaning that if one router fails, another will kick in almost immediately in order to maintain a secure connection.
This, coupled with low taxation and a well-regulated business environment, makes it an attractive destination for ebusiness companies seeking to set up shop. And the fact that so many ebusinesses are located there already ensures that there is an established support network in place for newcomers.
The Manx government has a member of its Department for Economic Development specifically devoted to ebusiness, Alf Cannan MHK (Member of the House of Keys). In addition, it recruited Jonathan Mills as Director of Ebusiness in November of 2015. Mr Mills is chairman of the Analytics Institute, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting innovation in the field of advanced analytics. However, his appointment proved to be short-lived, and the government is currently seeking a replacement. This does, however, show an ongoing commitment to developing the Island’s ebusiness sector. The Department for Economic Development recently sought an exemption to the Island’s work permit requirements for certain ebusiness staff, in order to combat a skills shortage in the sector.